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Apr 12, 2014 - 06:59 AM
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2014 Darlington: NASCAR Sprint Cup Starting Line-up Starting Line-up & Race Preview
Posted by: ASkyler on Apr 12, 2014 - 06:55 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Darlington: NASCAR Sprint Cup Starting Line-up Starting Line-up & Race Preview


By Mike Sulka

It only happens once a year, so put Darlington on the annual list with Christmas! But this is one of those races we dread when it comes to picking the winner. Tonight's edition will be the Bojangles' Southern 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, and as always, tonight will be nearly unpredictable.

Darlington Raceway was completed back in 1950, at an odd distance - 1.366 miles, with an odd shape - like an egg - and odd graduated banking. There is no other track quick like the 'Lady in Black', and maybe that's why the fans have demanded that NASCAR keep racing here. Turns one-two have 25 degree banking, while turns three-four are banked at 23 degrees. The frontstretch and the backstretch are an identical 1,229 feet though the frontstretch has three degree banking compared to two on the back. If the grandstands are full, 63,000 NASCAR fans will be at tonight's show.

But let's look back to see if we can take a shot at picking our winner this week.

In 2004, 6-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson swept both races. Greg Biffle swept the 2005 & 2006 visits. But the last five years, Biffle hasn't been a factor, while Johnson has scored three top-fives including a victory in 2012. In 2013, Johnson was fourth.

In 15 starts at Darlington, Johnson has eight top-4 runs. Toss out his first three tries at figuring out this place, and Johnson's record improves to eight top-4 runs in 12 races.

Tonight Johnson is likely to be a factor, but can he win ?

Denny Hamlin won the 2010 visit, was sixth in 2011 and grabbed second in 2012 and 2013. He might be a good candidate for victory.

Maybe, we should look back at 2008 winner Kyle Busch as a possible winner here. But remember, Rowdy was winning everything early in 2008. And... That win was Busch's ONLY top-five in seven visits to the track until he finished fourth in 2013. Last year, he slipped back to sixth.

Could a better pick to be made here ?

Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon might be one. Over the last ten races at Darlington Gordon finished in the top-five eight times. Johnson is next closest to that consistency with six top-fives over the same stretch.

So our pick for tonight will be Jeff Gordon, however, Darlington has had eight different winners over the last eight races. It could be just about anyone taking the checkers tonight.

But should Gordan fail, keep an eye on Johnson - for the reasons mentioned above.

Enjoy the only race where stripes are considered a badge of honor! Darlington... the Lady is a classic!

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Starting Line Up by Row
Darlington Raceway
65th Annual Bojangles' Southern 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Fri, April 11, 2014 @ 06:20 PM Central
Track Race Record: Matt Kenseth 05/11/13 03:32:45 141.383
Row Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 1 4 Kevin Harvick Budweiser Chevrolet 26.802 183.479
2 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 26.865 183.049
2 3 43 Aric Almirola Fresh from Florida Ford 26.880 182.946
4 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford 26.948 182.485
3 5 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 27.011 182.059
6 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 27.017 182.019
4 7 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 27.022 181.985
8 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Toyota 27.055 181.763
5 9 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 27.056 181.756
10 11 Denny Hamlin Sport Clips Toyota 27.087 181.548
6 11 27 Paul Menard CertainTeed / Menards Chevrolet 27.097 181.481
12 78 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Chevrolet 27.139 181.200
7 13 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation Chevrolet 26.993 182.181
14 55 Brian Vickers Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota 27.022 181.985
8 15 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard Chevrolet 27.066 181.689
16 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 27.132 181.247
9 17 42 Kyle Larson # Target Chevrolet 27.140 181.194
18 47 AJ Allmendinger Clorox Chevrolet 27.150 181.127
10 19 16 Greg Biffle 3M / Red Cross Ford 27.177 180.947
20 3 Austin Dillon # Dow Chevrolet 27.182 180.914
11 21 99 Carl Edwards Ford EcoBoost Ford 27.184 180.901
22 5 Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet 27.201 180.787
12 23 14 Tony Stewart Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 27.292 180.185
24 51 Justin Allgaier # Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes 27.479 178.958
13 25 20 Matt Kenseth Home Depot Husky Toyota 27.011 182.059
26 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet 27.033 181.911
14 27 38 David Gilliland A&W All American Food Ford 27.087 181.548
28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Nationwide Ford 27.110 181.394
15 29 98 Josh Wise Phil Parsons Racing Chevrolet 27.237 180.549
30 7 Michael Annett # Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet 27.270 180.330
16 31 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 27.273 180.310
32 34 David Ragan CSX Ford 27.289 180.204
17 33 10 Danica Patrick GoDaddy Chevrolet 27.296 180.158
34 23 Alex Bowman # Dr Pepper Toyota 27.321 179.993
18 35 40 Landon Cassill(i) Hillman Racing Chevrolet 27.363 179.717
36 77 Dave Blaney Ford 27.380 179.606
19 37 33 David Stremme Chevrolet Owner Points
38 30 Parker Kligerman # SMS Audio Toyota Owner Points
20 39 83 Ryan Truex # Borla Exhaust Toyota Owner Points
40 36 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Owner Points
21 41 32 Travis Kvapil Keen Parts Ford Owner Points
42 26 Cole Whitt # Swan Energy Toyota Owner Points
22 43 66 Joe Nemechek(i) Justin Johnson / Land Castle Title Toyota Owner Points
Did Not Qualify: # 35 David Reutimann.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 22 0 Toyota 10 0






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